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In 2019 the InterLaw Diversity Forum signed an MOU with the American Bar Association (“ABA”) to adapt the ABA’s US Model Diversity Survey ("ABA MDS") for use in the United Kingdom. The ABA MDS is now in its fifth year with over 150 Client Signatories and nearly 500 Law Firm Participants in the United States. In 2020 we solidified this arrangement with the ABA by signing a further “Collaboration Agreement”. Our UK adaptation is entitled the InterLaw Diversity Forum UK Model Diversity Survey ("UK MDS").

The UK Model Diversity Survey (“UK MDS”) is a supplier diversity questionnaire which corporate and financial institutions (“Signatories”) use to monitor their panel firms/legal service suppliers on diversity, inclusion, and culture. The purpose of the survey is to serve as the standard for law firms’ reporting of their diversity metrics. The benefits the survey has are data uniformity, time efficiency, and trending year over year in aggregate and for individual firms.

Foundation Signatories:

  1. Accenture

  2. [Not yet public]

  3. Barclays Europe

  4. BNP Paribas

  5. Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

  6. BT

  7. Bupa

  8. Cable & Wireless Communications

  9. Cambridge University Press & Assessment

  10. CBRE

  11. Credit Karma

  12. eBay

  13. EE

  14. [Not yet public]

  15. [Not yet public]

  16. [Not yet public]

  17. GLP

  18. Google

  19. HSBC

  20. Hult International Business School

  21. Jefferies

  22. Kantar 

  23. Mondelēz International

  24. Morgan Stanley

  25. Natixis

  26. NatWest

  27. NBCUniversal

  28. Peel Hunt

  29. Peloton

  30. PGIM

  31. Rokos Capital

  32. Santander

  33. Schroders Personal Wealth

  34. [Not yet public]

  35. [Not yet public]

  36. Southern Water

  37. Springer Nature

  38. Uber

  39. UBS

  40. Visa Europe

Foundation Law Firm Participants

  1. Ashurst

  2. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP)

  3. Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft

  4. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

  5. CMS UK

  6. Cooley

  7. Covington & Burling

  8. Fieldfisher

  9. Fladgate

  10. Greenberg Traurig

  11. Harbottle & Lewis 

  12. Herbert Smith Freehills

  13. Hogan Lovells

  14. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

  15. Linklaters

  16. GQ Employment Law

  17. Osborne Clarke

  18. [Not public]

  19. [Not public]

  20. Reed Smith

  21. Shoosmiths

  22. Sidley Austin

  23. Simmons & Simmons

  24. Squire Patton Boggs

  25. Sullivan & Cromwell 

  26. Towerhouse

  27. Walker Morris

  28. White & Case

The UK MDS has been adapted with kind permission from the updated and improved 2021 version of the American Bar Association's Model Diversity Survey in the US ("ABA MDS"). As part of our continued collaboration with the ABA, future iterations of both versions will continue to mirror each other as much as possible, and will cross-pollinate as we share improvements back and forth. We are using the same service provider to run the online platform, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), a not-for-profit testing organisation in the United States who are generously supporting this project.

N.B.The UK MDS and the ABA MDS will run as two parallel but totally separate and independent systems. They will, however, have nearly identical user interfaces and functionality, enabling them to easily be used in conjunction with each other.

As part of our adaptation for the UK market, we have worked with the SRA to ensure all our diversity categories align with what the SRA will required law firms to report in their 2021 Diversity Questionnaire. Law Firms will be able to use the diversity data they collected in the SRA questionnaire, combined with other information held in HR, to complete the UK MDS.

We have received GDPR advice for the UK MDS from Reed Smith, with support from Paul Hastings.


The UK MDS can help clients shape their decisions about allocation of legal work to law firms/legal suppliers by creating greater transparency around diversity, inclusion, and culture in law firms. Law firm data is displayed to Signatories in a series of "Dashboards" which make the data collected by the UK MDS truly accessible and useable. So instead of reams of tabular data sitting with procurement only, GCs and their legal teams can now easily dig in to compare their panel firms, including comparing their stats over time, if they wish to consider performance around diversity, inclusion, and culture when handing out work.

The UK Model Diversity Survey will assist law firms in providing uniform, thorough, and accurate information to their corporate and financial institution clients. Further, it will streamline D&I data collection for law firms by allowing firms to provide a single, uniform set of data to multiple clients. Firms are currently asked for a different set of diversity data, cut a different way, from every client who collects it.  The more firm clients who use the UK MDS, the greater the cost and time savings for the firm.


About the Dashboards

Data is displayed in a series of "Dashboards" to make the data collected by the UK MDS more accessible and useable. These Dashboards enable the Client Signatories to draw out information and insights which might not be possible when viewing such large amounts of data in a tabular format. Clients will be able to make like-for-like comparisons between their panel law firms/legal service providers, as well as to compare data over time and measure their panel firms’ progress.

As part of the development of the UK MDS, we assembled a working group of general counsel, senior in-house lawyers, D&I experts, and law firm representatives to consult on the project. We consulted and coordinated with the SRA to ensure our diversity and social mobility categories are the same as those the SRA required law firms to collect on in Summer 2021. We are working with the same supplier as the ABA, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), to develop the infrastructure and systems to launch the UK version.


Current Status of the Project:


The submission period for Law Firm Participants to enter their 2021 UK MDS data has now closed. 

We are ​continuing to onboard new Law Firm Participants who will be able to participate in the next iteration of the survey, the 2022 UK MDS.


We are accelerating data collection cycles as below to bring us current with the calendar year:

The platform will open to accept 2022 UK MDS data submissions (of firm 2021 data) on or around 15 May 2023 and will close on 31 July 2023. After the closing date of 31 July 2023, firms will no longer be able to submit 2022 UK MDS data. 

The platform will re-open to accept 2023 UK MDS submissions (of firm 2022 data) on or around 15 September 2023 and will close on 30 November 2023.


The platform will re-open to accept 2024 UK MDS submission (of firm 2023 data) on 1 May 2024 and will close on 30 July 2024. This will bring us current with the calendar year and the cycle will repeat annually on this schedule.

We welcome new Signatories to join at anytime.


If your organanisation would like to participate – either as a Signatory or a Law Firm Participant – please contact:

Coming in 2023: Bolt-on Programmes to the UK MDS